PLM in the engineer-to-order / project-based product deliveries has the focus on managing the delivery engineering process and its deliverables. However, PLM should also manage the ETO product “template” i.e. capture the product management / productization definitions related to the product under product management that will be customized in the project. This product “template” should contain key product management definitions f. ex. if a product module / section shall be always fixed, standard one, or if it is something that can be configured based on the customer requirement, designed using a parametric CAD model, or if it is subject to full customization and needs to be recreated for each of the delivery separately.
A key success factor in project-based business PLM implementations is also an efficient library management of good and proven design solutions that can be used cross projects and deliveries.
All in all a key success factor in the engineer to order business is finding the right balance between custom vs. configuration / standard designs and the key role of PLM is to facilitate this balancing.
In project-based business, PLM is used to manage varying level of design detail between product modules. Usually some modules or sections of the product are subject to in-house manufacturing where the design requirement is very detailed while another module can be 100% externally sourced and needs to be only specified technically.
In project business the expectation of having a seamless integration between all relevant CAD systems, independent of the CAD design discipline, is high. This is due to the reason that engineers must be able to create new designs for each delivery separately in a very efficient way. In practice PLM in project businesses focuses on the product engineering lifecycle and the management of individual customer and project-based designs.